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Rhian Wilkinson: Wales still in control of Euro 2025 qualifying destiny

31 May 2024 3 minute read
Wales manager Rhian Wilkinson. Photo Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Rhian Wilkinson declared Wales are still in control of their Euro 2025 destiny after being held at home by Ukraine.

Kayleigh Barton’s second-half penalty secured a 1-1 draw in Llanelli after Veronika Andrukhiv had fired the visitors ahead inside three minutes.

The return fixture will take place in Poland on Tuesday, with Wales’ lead at the top of Group B4 cut to a single point.

Control

Wales have seven points from three games, with Croatia – 1-0 winners in Kosovo on Friday – on six, and Ukraine moving to four in the race for play-off places in the autumn.

“The group is still in in our control,” said Wilkinson.

“We’re still top and we can’t let games like this when it feels like two points slipped away cost us more than that.

“Some games you are the better team and you don’t win, but we got a point and I’m proud of that.

“We cannot waste 45 minutes again. If we had not lost rhythm after they scored we would have won the game

“I could say we’ve got to win that game on Tuesday, but what we’ve got to do is put in a 90-minute performance.”

Wilkinson’s reign began in April with two crushing wins over Croatia and Kosovo and scoring 10 goals without reply.

Discipline

But it was a different story at Parc y Scarlets as Ukraine, emboldened by their early advantage, defended with discipline and threatened on the odd break.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a frustrating match,” Wilkinson said after Wales had fought to recover from Rhiannon Roberts’ early error playing out from the back that gifted Ukraine the lead.

“We’re better than letting one mistake cost us two points. We lost our way in the first 45, but I was really proud of how we responded.

“It was a ball we unnecessarily put in to a dangerous area and we are going to have to learn from it.

“But I’ve asked them to do that. I want to be a brave team and not be a team that does not just pump the ball long, but we took the wrong option.”

Wilkinson confirmed that she would “probably” change the captain for the return fixture in Poland.

Angharad James wore the armband in Llanelli, but Wilkinson has not settled on a permanent skipper since Sophie Ingle stepped down from the role following her first game. Jess Fishlock led the side in Kosovo.

She said: “We’re in the middle of a work trip, we play them again on Tuesday and they’re a good team.

“They were well coached, disciplined and this is a country that’s been through it all.

“You probably can’t find a country more proud to represent the badge.”


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Riki
Riki
2 days ago

They will blow it, mark my words. That’s what we do!

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